House lawyers under the direction of
Speaker John Boehner will not consent to a video recording of a legal
challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that
bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and
On Friday, House general counsel Kerry
Kircher notified a federal court in California that the House's
Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) “prefers not to participate
in this district's pilot project permitting video recording of
courtroom proceedings,” gay weekly Metro
Earlier, U.S. District Court Judge
Jeffrey White announced that the proceedings won't be recorded unless
all parties agree.
Karen Golinski, a 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals lawyer, sued the government after her
employer denied health insurance coverage to her wife, Amy
Cunninghis. The U.S. Office of Personnel (OPM) argues that DOMA
blocks such benefits.
Boehner appointed and led a committee
that instructed House counsel to defend the law in court after the
Obama administration announced it would no longer do so. The
president has said he believes the law that bans federal recognition
of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional.
In July, the Justice Department sided
with Golinski. In its 31-page filing, the agency argued that sexual
orientation is an “immutable characteristic” and that DOMA serves
no legitimate policy interest.